Special to theadvocate.com
March 07, 2013
As the lead singer for Wild Belle, Natalie Bergman loves sharing her musical creativity, especially in places that have unique musical grooves and fascinating visuals like the Crescent City.
“I love New Orleans,” Bergman said. “My brother and I were there a few years ago playing a club. It was a total throwback, so I cannot wait to visit again.”
The waiting ends for Bergman and her brother Elliot on Feb. 5 as Wild Belle, the sibling music duo, performs at One-Eyed Jack’s to promote their “Isles” album.
Natalie says the album was recorded in the span of two months, which allowed this brother and sister to approach each other’s musical talents in a whole new way, which really shaped the “Isles” album.
“When Elliot invited me into the studio, I brought my demos, and he added his own magic and shaped them into the sound of Wild Belle,” Natalie said. “We just felt that each song is its own island of sound. Each song is coming from a different area of my heart and a different area of the world.”
But before the world ever heard of the “Isles” album, Natalie and Elliot marched to their own drummer by completing it long before signing with Columbia Records. Because of this self-made approach, what you hear on “Isles” is actually what they personally created with co-producer Bill Skibbe.
“We’ve always done things ourselves,” Natalie said. “Elliot made records with his other band, Nomo, and it was always a do-it-yourself process. That’s the only way we know how to do it.”
Creating music is something Natalie and Elliot grew up doing in school, at church and in their Chicago home with a passion shared by their mother and father.
“Both of our parents were musical,” Natalie explained. “There was always music around the house when we were growing up. My mom was a great pianist who played lots of Gershwin, classical, and jazz. My dad loved playing Dylan on the guitar. There was always music coming from them or from records. They surrounded us with music.”
Natalie attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music for two years. Although she praises her Berklee experience, it seems that forming Wild Belle with her brother is the biggest thrill for Natalie.
“It’s just been a really wonderful experience working with Elliot, mostly because we see eye to eye on so many things,” she said. “That’s what sort of tied us together in the first place, our love of music and the styles of music that we’re particularly drawn to.”
Their shared love of afro-beat, raggae, Latin, funk and jazz styles is obvious on Wild Belle’s single “Keep You,” which is about a woman desperate to keep her wandering man. Yet, Natalie said her real challenge can sometimes be even talking to a man because of Elliot’s protective instinct.
“Occasionally, he can be a big brother when it comes to me meeting men. He always tends to push guys away from me,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s about the only problem that I have with my brother.”
Wild Belle opens for Toro Y Moi on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at One-Eyed Jack’s, 615 Toulouse St., New Orleans. More info and tickets are available OneEyedJacks.net or by calling (504) 569-8361. See Wild Belle’s “Keep You” music video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLKOmXm6W3s.